The dissolution of TomKat's marriage is old news by now, but you can't help but wonder about all the waving neon flags that Cruise managed to miss. I mean, talk about getting blind-sided -- and all so publicly.
Alas, Tom Cruise isn't the first to have been duped. Remember the late, brilliant Nora Ephron's Heartburn? Nora chose to ignore some blaring bullhorns in that saga. Of course, that heartbreak manifested into a hugely successful smash, but a broken heart is a broken heart. I'm not telling you to be a paranoid nut... but pay attention... and don't settle for anybody's crumbs.
Now, for our top ON FIRE red flags while you are still in a relationship... drum roll please...
Red Flag #1: You're Not Getting Any
Is your man more passionate in the kitchen cooking then he is in the sack? Is he squeamish about your lustiness, fondness for leather panties and the occasional spanking? No discussion here. Get the hell out. It's not gonna get any better.
I had a real mess of a boyfriend who explained to me that he liked me too much to have sex with me. He could do whores, just not women he liked. Oy....
Red Flag #2: He's a Cheat.
An obvious one, you'd think... but the most spectacular women in the world have put up with cheats, porn freaks and their "sex addictions." Tiger Woods, Jesse James, Peter Cook, Russell Brand... Let's leave this humiliating drama to our college years and avoid compulsive damaged dudes, shall we?
Red Flag #3: He Disses his Ex...
...And blames her for his emotionally frozen take on the world. "Baggage" from his past will keep you begging for the "L" word, compliments and just plain ole love and respect. Run for the hill, ladies. This doozie needs to do some deep inner work -- and will only leave you dining on a plate of empty fare.
Red Flag #4: He's Stingy
If he's cheap in life, he's not gonna be lavish in other areas, like birthdays or in the sack. You need a generous lover... in every way. No more pedometers for Christmas or going dutch over birthday din dins. Scrooge was fabricated by Dickens -- they don't reform in real life. And stingy is the OPPOSITE of where your life needs to be going: the land of YES and abundance.
Red Flag #5: He's working a whole lot of overtime
Let's face it, Jennifer Aniston should have known better. We woulda had a nice long chat with the agent who put Brad in the same movie with Angie in the first place. Some history lessons: The ultimate femme, Marilyn Monroe, steals Yves Montand right from under the very fabulous Simone Signoret s nose; Liz and Dick's famous fling on the set of Cleopatra and the obvious chemistry that was bouncing off the walls between Jessa, our blonde bombshell in GIRLS, and the Dad she was baby-sitting for. Jenna needed to be removed from the scene of the future crime PRONTO. Sometimes you gotta make like a dog and pee all over your territory.
Red Flag #6: You're lonelier now, as half of a couple, than you were when you were on your own.
This is not good. And I've been there. Is the the theme of your daily journal for the last year: "I really have to get out of this relationship?" Listen to the little voice that speaks to you when you lay your head down on that pillow at night. You know what you have to do. Do it!
Red Flag #7: When the glistening bottle of booze means more to him then... well, how's anything?
Nobody loves a dry extra chilled vodka martini -- slightly dirty -- better then I do. But having a relationship with an addict is a no-brainer. I am NOT talking about reformed addicts. I have nothing but respect for them. I'm talkin' bad behavior fueled by booze -- when you're just plain ole stinkin' mean to each other... and then, ta dah, you become a nag. Nobody wins. Too much booze, drugs or too much food: All numbing. You are not going to change him. Repeat after me: you are not going to change him and you will only continue to feel bad. GET OUT!
Red Flag #8: When you're fantasizing about his funeral...
I remember like it was yesterday: taking long steamy showers and imagining my intended not returning from a looooong adventure he was going to take (solo) in a threatening part of the globe and how very adorable I'd be as a merry widow à la Scarlett O'Hara. I stayed with the poor man another year... I'm not proud of that...
Red Flag #9: All other men begin to look H O T
Noticing all things male in a way you never did during your "happy" years...
Redflag #10: Overly critical
Is every little thing you do wrong? Like how you chop your onions or organize your closets? Get out, before you have absolutely no confidence left. Diane Keaton talked about this beautifully in her memoir, Then Again, about Warren Beatty: "There wasn't a woman within close proximity he didn't scrutinize -- except me. He didn't scrutinize me -- not then." It's hard to dump a Warren Beatty when he was peaking... but a scrutinizer is a soul killer.
Red Flag #11
You're not invited to go out with his pals, attend family gatherings or go to his favorite niece's weddings. Run.
He hates your family, your pets and your kids. Bye-bye!
Red Flag #13: Is that a man-child you are with?
Are you tired of always driving the bus? Are you over always paying the way and being "mommy"? There's a lot of man-childs in the world right now and we're getting tired of the watery-eyed woosies. We want a man who will make some decisions (not all) and is curious about the world. As Julie Klausner noted in her brilliant book I Don't Care about Your Band, NO WONDER Don Draper makes us all go bananas! Yes, he is a MASS of red flags -- but he is an honest-to-god MAN! Might be worth it for a night, or a week or a...
Maryjane Fahey is the co-author of DUMPED, a breakup bible for women to get off their asses and over their exes in record time. Fall 2012. Find, tweet, facebook, whatever them.. they're very friendly...